Laura Veirs before Neko Case

Laura Veirs before Neko Case
Laura Veirs before Neko Case
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You know you’re doing the right thing when “your job” actually feels like a vacation. That’s how Portland-based musician Laura Veirs sees things, while on her current 10-day tour with Neko Case. When not on tour, Laura’s a mother and primary caregiver to 2 small children (along with musician/producer Tucker Martine). Motherhood has given her cause to pause her career from time to time, but the tug of music always brings her back to her passion, “living the dream!”


She actually studied geology and Mandarin Chinese in college and readily admits that it’s not a direct path to becoming a musician, “I was dabbling in language and science, writing songs on the side and doing open mics. When I graduated, I decided music was my real passion and I wanted to get good on guitar…I met Tucker, made a record and it’s just been going from there.”


So far she’s put out 10 albums (the last 9 produced by Martine), including one oriented towards children (Parents Choice award in 2012) and a sound track collection for the film “Hello I Must Be Going” (2012). Her career first took off in England, later signing with Nonesuch Records for 3 albums which, as she says, “gave her a leg up here in the states”. She now has her own label, which works much better for her financially. Her current album, “Warp and Weft” features vocals by Neko Case.


A bonus to this tour is having that “rock star experience” of being on a deluxe tour bus with the support of Case and her band. Touring with an established artist like Case is an obvious boost to her visibility. She feels that performing for an audience that probably came to hear the headliner usually works in her favor.





Laura characterizes her music as “finger style guitar, a folk music esthetic with punk undertones.” She started learning country blues style guitar, but gravitated towards the punk side while in college, where she joined the all-girl punk band Rair Kx (which you can’t say without clawing the air). Today she’s learning to sight read music which energizes her continuing passion.




During her solo opening set for the huge final Friday Cheers of 2014 she fought the heat, humidity and sun in her eyes, but put on a diverse blend of tunes the growing audience seemed to appreciate. She was joined on stage by Case’s drummer and backing vocalist for several songs.

 Veirs on stage

Of note was the prohibition of video and photos being taken by the audience (at the insistence of Case’s management). Evidently this is standard for Case’s shows as stated on her website: “We ask that you refrain from taking photos either with a camera or cellphone during the performance. It is distracting and disruptive to both the performers and your fellow audience members.”


You know what, they’re right. It was refreshing to see the audience (for the most part) actually enjoying the show with their eyes and ears, not their recording devices. Here’s a quick look at Laura’s performance (before I turned off my phone).


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